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REDDITCH United manager Graham Hyde has called on his players to find the form which lifted them into the top half of the Southern League Premier table after Saturday’s stirring performance against leaders Brackley.
The Reds went down 3-2 to the table-toppers but gave them a fright, despite being reduced to 10 men after Aaron Stringfellow was sent off.
Trailing by three goals, Jake Jones and new signing Sam Adkins, who joined last week on-loan from Leamington, both hit the target as United rallied impressively.
Now the manager wants the same impressive response to end their run of five defeats in the last six league games, a streak which has seen them slip towards the relegation zone.
“I couldn’t be happier with the way the team responded on Saturday,” commented Hyde.
“We were down to 10 men but for an hour or so we have the league leaders a real fright.
“We’ve got to remember how we played in the second-half and use it.
“We’ve got 15 games left and I firmly believe we’ve got players who are good enough to do well and move us up the table.
“Before Christmas we went on a great run and I want us to replicate that form.”
However, Hyde was unhappy with Stringfellow’s sending off for two yellow cards in quick succession during the first half, when the score was still 0-0.
“The referee had a bad day and unfortunately it has cost us,” lamented Hyde. “It’s never going to be easy against a good side like Brackley but to have something like that happen didn’t help our cause.
“Aaron was booked and I have no problem with that but two minutes later he’s collided with one of their players and was sent off.
“To make matters worse, we’ve been awarded a penalty but their player, who was on a yellow, isn’t booked.”
Hyde continued to reshape his squad last week, as striker Tom Berwick left the club.
However, he brought in Adkins and former Birmingham City youth team prospect Luke Benbow on-loan from Solihull Moors. The young hitman had previously been loaned out to Highgate United.
Hyde said: “I thought Luke added something to us going forward and he and Sam will be good additions.
“Tom Berwick’s moved on and we’ve freshened up our attack.
“It was time for a change and I wish him well at Daventry, where he’s a bit of a goal-scoring legend.”
Meanwhile, on-loan Walsall winger Jake Jones will play his final game when the Reds take on Swindon Supermarine away in the league on Saturday (3pm kick-off).
n The club is looking for matchday stewards to volunteer.
All equipment will be provided and anyone interested can call chief safety officer Jeff Sharp on 07850 917446.